Led Zeppelin

Three questions:

  1. What’s the true story of how that band got its name?

  2. What was the name of the band that Plant and Bonham were in before Zep?

  3. Do any recordings exist of said band?

Here’s what I know, but I’m not an expert.

  1. Somebody told Jimmy Page that his idea for a new band would “go over like a lead balloon.” Thus the name Led Zeppelin.

  2. Plant was in Moby Grape but I didn’t know Bonham was in the same group.

  3. I don’t know.

  1. The music was played for Keith Moon, who said it would go over like a Lead Zeppelin

  2. Band of Joy

  3. Not sure

As for number one, I’ve heard that John Entwistle and Keith Moon were going to join a band with Page (The New Yardbirds), and that was Moon’s comment. I tell ya, I would have paid real money to hear that.

But I suspect that story is partly urban legend.

Nope thats basically exactly what happened.

There are varying accounts as to the origin, but they agree it originated with Keith Moon. Moon said something – either Page’s band, or a band Moon was forming with John Entwistle – would go over like a “lead zeppelin.” Jimmy Page learned about the comment and chose it for his band, changing “lead” to “led” so it would be pronounced correctly.

In the account I red, it was Peter Grant who changed it because “The stupid Yanks will pronounce it ‘leed.’” Guess he wasn’t concerned about the stupid Kiwis. :smiley:

Googling on Band of Joy, I get lots of hits for discographies, but they’re all blank.

I don’t think so.


I agree. Moby Grape was a band on the 1960s San Francisco scene.

Yes. There were two demos from Band of Joy, including both Plant and Bonham, released on “Sixty Six to Timbuktu,” Plant’s best-of set from a couple years ago. Both were covers, of “Hey Joe” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” Neither was worth a second listen.

Thanks minty green - didn’t know that. A little more backstory, to the best of my knowledge:

Jeff Beck had left the Yardbirds and was looking to form his own band. At one point, he got together with Jimmy Page, who had a Bolero riff he had worked out on 12-string. They recruited Entwhistle and Moon and this lineup was used to create Beck’s Bolero one of the great rock instrumentals of all time.

There was discussion of forming a band with this lineup, but ultimately, E & M wouldn’t leave the Who.

Sometime concurrent with this, Jimmy was exploring what to do with the Yardbirds. There is a legendarily rare album of the Yardbirds playing in NY (the Algonquin Ballroom??) - I have heard it, since a friend of mine owns it - with the last YB lineup playing, but clearly Jimmy Page is in control - but with the YB’s Keith Relf singing in his straight, flat tenor. We hear “I’m Confused” an early version of “Dazed and Confused” a Celtic-inflected finger-picky piece called, hmmm, maybe White Summer? All the blueprints laid out for Page’s heavier tone.

The YB’s breakup. Page knows what he wants. He recruits old friend and fellow session player, JPJones. They want Terry Reid the “greatest unsigned vocalist in the UK” to be their singer. They approach him, only to learn that he, in fact, has signed a deal. (listen to his stuff and it is clear where Percy Plant got a lot of his style - they sound eerily alike). Page is despondant and rooting around and hears about Robert Plant - who had been in a band - Hobgoblin? Some Tolkien-y sounding name - that had broken up.

He finds Plant and recruits him, and Plant suggests Page check out Bonham, his drummer from the north country who had been in a band a year or so ago, Band of Joy. They all get together in a flat in London and play “Train Kept a Rollin’” and everyone looked at each other - the New Yardbirds were born.

They tour Scandanavia as the New Yardbirds, I think to fulfill a contractual obligation. Around the same time, they record some tracks and circle back to Moonie to play them - resulting in the infamous line.

I think that covers it - I am sure there are niggles I have wrong, but to my knowledge, this is essentially the facts…

Of course, they should have been named “The We’re Going to Rip Off Willie Dixon Until He Sues Us And Gets The Writing Credit and Royalties He Deserves Band” but it wouldn’t fit on the marquee.


I happen to think that Led Zep brought a new and different enough interpretation that they deserve their reputation as one of the greatest ever, but have to agree that they should’ve shown more respect (read: $$) to the folks they were covering. Without them having to sue.

I don’t have the specifics, but it is my understanding that “I’m Confused”/“Dazed and Confused” was based on a tune that Jimmy Page saw some fellow play in NY - I am sure there are many more like that…

One last question: What the hell was up with the bridge and why was Percy always looking for it?

Given that you are a musician, I will assume you are just funnin’ and know the facts - Maceo! Take me to the bridge - hey-EYYYY!

Pretend I’m a stupid musician. Because I have no idea what you’re talking about. Are you talking about a bridge as in a B section?

Okay - no worries. James Brown is not only the Godfather of Soul, Soul Brother #1, etc. - but as I am sure you know he is known for having the tightest, funkiest, all-around bestest bands playing. He is known for calling out changes on the fly in the middle of sets and fining players who blow it.

One of his most famous lines is a call-out to his (now-former) longtime sax player, Maceo Parker: Maceo - can you take me to the bridge? I said: Maceo, take me to the bridge! Are you ready - hit it!!! and so on - and while the crowd finds it entertaining and the back-and-forth with Maceo seems fun, Brown wasn’t kidding around. You better hit the bridge - the middle 8 (or in Brown’s case, who knows how long 'till he calls the change) or face serious repercussions.

Percy Plant’s call in the Crunge and the Ocean etc, are homages to Mr. Star Time…

Ah, got it. Thanks.

Not being a huge James Brown fan, I wouldn’t know this.

Ah, there you go. You may not be a fan of his music, but as a musician, if you ever want to hear a crack band just kill, check out his stuff.